The African Ruler Trudeau Shouldn’t Have Invited

Open Letter to Right Honorable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Paul Kagame in London, April 18, 2018.
Dear Right Honourable Prime Minister, when you host the 2018 G7 Summit on June 8–9, 2018, one guest will be especially awkward: Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame. Unless Canada wants to wink at assassinating adversaries, stifling opposition and subverting neighboring nations, Kagame should not have been on the guest list. By officially inviting Kagame to Canada, our country has reached a new low. Since the days of Pierre Trudeau, Canada has provided the world with moral leadership — now we are unashamedly embracing violent autocrats.


Kagame has ruled Rwanda with an iron fist in various capacities since 1994.

He was supposed to hand over power in 2017. Instead, he changed the constitution to cling to power — Kagame will rule Rwanda until 2034. Kagame then won the 2017 elections with an astonishing 99 percent of the vote. Kagame achieved this by terrorizing the opposition, including his main challenger Diana Shima Rwigara. Kagame has since thrown her into prison together with her mother Adeline Rwigara. The two joined Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza whom Kagame imprisoned in the 2010 elections to deny her the right to challenge him at the polls.

Meanwhile, Kagame’s violence has taken many lives at home and abroad.

As Kagame once said of his political opponents, “Many of them tend to die.” The death toll includes Former intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya, strangled in a hotel room in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2013. Andre Kagawa Rwisereka, deputy president of the opposition Democratic Green Party, decapitated and dumped in a river in Rwanda in 2010. Charles Ingabire, editor of a newspaper critical of Kagame, shot to death in Kampala, Uganda, in 2011. Theogene Turatsinze, former director of the Rwandan Development Bank, was assassinated in Mozambique in 2012.

World leaders know something is terribly wrong in Rwanda.

Following the killing of Karegaya in Jonannesburg, South Africa expelled three Rwandan diplomats. In a report last year on Rwanda’s human rights record, the U.S. State Department documented the Rwandan government’s “targeting of political opponents and human rights advocates for harassment, arrest and abuse,” including “arbitrary or unlawful killings both inside and outside of the country, disappearance and torture.”

Honorable Prime Minister, how could you invite to Canada a man of this horrendous human rights record?

You has spoken eloquently for human rights. On the Human Rights Day last year, for example, you said: Today, I call on all Canadians to join together in pursuit of a world where everyone — no matter their identity, beliefs, or circumstances — is born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Instead of inviting Kagame to the G7 Summit, you should have written him these words: ”You can’t be a despot in your home country and be an honored guest on the Canadian soil.”

Prime Minister, in conclusion, I alert you to the fact that Rwandan operatives often follow their ruler on his foreign visits to harm members of Rwandan diaspora.

Whenever Kagame visits a foreign country, his operatives stay behind to harass, intimidate, or even harm members of the Rwandan diaspora. For a recent example, the British metropolitan police warned a British-Rwandan in London that he faced imminent danger from Rwandan operatives. We trust that Canadian security agencies will ensure the safety of Rwandan Canadians and other Canadians who criticize the Kagame regime’s horrific human rights record.

Yours Sincerely,

David Himbara, Democracy In Rwanda Now (DIRN)